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Concept: Anatidae


The natural occurrence of chicken and turkey-origin astroviruses in domestic ducks (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus) is described. Twenty-two duck flocks were covered by this research. The liver, spleen, kidney and intestines were sampled and tested by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction for the presence of avian nephritis virus (ANV), chicken astrovirus (CAstV), turkey astrovirus (TAstV)-1, TAstV-2 and duck astrovirus. The astrovirus infection was confirmed in multiple organ samples from 59.1% of tested flocks. CAstV was detected in one flock, TAstV-2 in three flocks and ANV in 10 flocks. The molecular and phylogenetic analysis of the small open reading frame (ORF) 1b fragment (130 nucleotides) of all chicken and turkey-origin astroviruses detected in ducks showed that ANV-sequence group was more distant from CastV, TAstV-1 and TAstV-2 sequences, which formed a separate, more related group. ANV sequences were divided into three subgroups, suggesting that several types of ANV were circulating in Croatian duck flocks. The comparison of the partial ORF 1b (254 nucleotides) duck ANV sequences with 21 ANVs detected in various avian species (chickens, turkeys, geese, guinea fowl and pigeons) revealed they shared the higher nucleotide (95.6 to 97.2%) and amino acid (98.8 to 100%) identity with two ANV-2-like sequences from chickens (GA-SEP-A451-05 and GA-CK-SEP ANV-364-2005). Phylogenetic neighbour-joining tree analysis based on the same nucleotide alignment, and performed using the Jukes-Cantor method, clustered the compared sequences into three groups. All analysed duck ANV sequences showed a close phylogenetic relationship with chicken-origin ANVs. Additional work is required to determine the significance and pathogenicity of chicken and turkey-origin astroviruses in domestic ducks.

Concepts: DNA, Molecular biology, Bird, Mallard, Anas, Open reading frame, Domestic duck, Anatidae


Avian bornavirus (ABV) has been shown the cause of proventricular dilatation disease (PDD) in psittacines. Many healthy birds are infected with ABV, and the development of PDD in such cases is unpredictable. As a result, the detection of ABV in a sick bird is not confirmation that it is suffering from PDD. Treatment studies are in their infancy. ABV is not restricted to psittacines. It has been found to cause PDD-like disease in canaries. It is also present at a high prevalence in North American geese, swans, and ducks. It is not believed that these waterfowl genotypes can cause disease in psittacines.

Concepts: Disease, Bird, Goose, Swan, Anatidae, Anseriformes, Proventricular Dilatation Disease, Avian Bornavirus


The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence and antimicrobial resistance of Listeria, Salmonella, and Yersinia spp. isolated from duck and goose intestinal contents. A total of 471 samples, including 291 duck and 180 goose intestinal contents, were purchased from wet markets between November 2008 and July 2010. Listeria, Salmonella, and Yersinia spp. were isolated from 58 (12.3%), 107 (22.7%), and 80 (17%) of the samples, respectively. It was concluded that Listeria ivanovii, Salmonella Thompson, and Yersinia enterocolitica were the predominant serovars among Listeria, Salmonella, and Yersinia spp., respectively. Moreover, resistance to tetracycline was common in Listeria (48.3%) and Salmonella spp. (63.6%), whereas 51.3% of the Yersinia spp. isolates were resistant to cephalothin. Therefore, continued surveillance of the prevalence of the pathogens and also of emerging antibiotic resistance is needed to render possible the recognition of foods that may represent risks and also ensure the effective treatment of listeriosis, salmonellosis, and yersiniosis.

Concepts: Bacteria, Antibiotic resistance, Listeria, Yersinia enterocolitica, Yersinia, Goose, Duck, Anatidae


The impacts of hybridization on the process of speciation are manifold, leading to distinct patterns across the genome. Genetic differentiation accumulates in certain genomic regions, while divergence is hampered in other regions by homogenizing gene flow, resulting in a heterogeneous genomic landscape. A consequence of this heterogeneity is that genomes are mosaics of different gene histories that can be compared to unravel complex speciation and hybridization events. However, incomplete lineage sorting (often the outcome of rapid speciation) can result in similar patterns. New statistical techniques, such as the D-statistic and hybridization networks, can be applied to disentangle the contributions of hybridization and incomplete lineage sorting. We unravel patterns of hybridization and incomplete lineage sorting during and after the diversification of the True Geese (family Anatidae, tribe Anserini, genera Anser and Branta) using an exon-based hybridization network approach and taking advantage of discordant gene tree histories by re-sequencing all taxa of this clade. In addition, we determine the timing of introgression and reconstruct historical effective population sizes for all goose species to infer which demographic or biogeographic factors might explain the observed patterns of introgression.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Genome, Goose, Branta, Anser, Anatidae, Anserinae


The high incidence of hybridization in waterfowl (ducks, geese and swans) makes this bird group an excellent study system to answer questions related to the evolution and maintenance of species boundaries. However, knowledge on waterfowl hybridization is biased towards ducks, with a large knowledge gap in geese. In this review, we assemble the available information on hybrid geese by focusing on three main themes: (1) incidence and frequency, (2) behavioural mechanisms leading to hybridization, and (3) hybrid fertility. Hybridization in geese is common on a species-level, but rare on a per-individual level. An overview of the different behavioural mechanisms indicates that forced extra-pair copulations and interspecific nest parasisitm can both lead to hybridization. Other sources of hybrids include hybridization in captivity and vagrant geese, which may both lead to a scarcity of conspecifics. The different mechanisms are not mutually exclusive and it is currently not possible to discriminate between the different mechanisms without quantitative data. Most hybrid geese are fertile; only in crosses between distantly related species do female hybrids become sterile. This fertility pattern, which is in line with Haldane’s Rule, may facilitate interspecific gene flow between closely related species. The knowledge on hybrid geese should be used, in combination with the information available on hybridization in ducks, to study the process of avian speciation.

Concepts: Gene, Evolution, Bird, Speciation, Goose, Swan, Anatidae, Anseriformes


Movement behaviour is fundamental to the ecology of animals and their interactions with other organisms, and as such contributes to ecosystem dynamics. Waterfowl are key players in ecological processes in wetlands and surrounding habitats through predator-prey interactions and their transportation of nutrients and other organisms. Understanding the drivers of their movement behaviour is crucial to predict how environmental changes affect their role in ecosystem functioning. Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) are the most abundant duck species worldwide and important dispersers of aquatic invertebrates, plants and pathogens like avian influenza viruses. By GPS tracking of 97 mallards in four landscape types along a gradient of wetland availability, we identified patterns in their daily movement behaviour and quantified potential effects of weather conditions and water availability on the spatial scale of their movements.

Concepts: Life, Ecology, Influenza, Ecosystem, Mallard, Anas, Anatidae, Anatinae


Geese were domesticated over 6,000 years ago, making them one of the first domesticated poultry. Geese are capable of rapid growth, disease resistance, and high liver lipid storage capacity, and can be easily fed coarse fodder. Here, we sequence and analyze the whole-genome sequence of an economically important goose breed in China and compare it with that of terrestrial bird species.

Concepts: Gene, Archaea, Organism, Bird, Goose, Anatidae, Anseriformes, Waterfowl


One way to manage disturbance to waterbirds in natural areas where humans require access is to promote the occurrence of stimuli for which birds tolerate closer approaches, and so cause fewer responses. We conducted 730 experimental approaches to 39 species of waterbird, using five stimulus types (single walker, three walkers, bicycle, car and bus) selected to mimic different human management options available for a controlled access, Ramsar-listed wetland. Across species, where differences existed (56% of 25 cases), motor vehicles always evoked shorter flight-initiation distances (FID) than humans on foot. The influence of stimulus type on FID varied across four species for which enough data were available for complete cross-stimulus analysis. All four varied FID in relation to stimuli, differing in 4 to 7 of 10 possible comparisons. Where differences occurred, the effect size was generally modest, suggesting that managing stimulus type (e.g. by requiring people to use vehicles) may have species-specific, modest benefits, at least for the waterbirds we studied. However, different stimulus types have different capacities to reduce the frequency of disturbance (i.e. by carrying more people) and vary in their capacity to travel around important habitat.

Concepts: Human, Bird, Transport, Vehicle, Automobile, Bus, Anatidae, Bicycle


During autumn-winter 2016-2017, highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N8) viruses caused mass die-offs among wild birds in the Netherlands. Among the ≈13,600 birds reported dead, most were tufted ducks (Aythya fuligula) and Eurasian wigeons (Anas penelope). Recurrence of avian influenza outbreaks might alter wild bird population dynamics.

Concepts: Microbiology, Virus, Demography, Influenza, Avian influenza, Bird, Anatidae, Diving duck


The Anseriformes is a well-known and widely distributed bird order, with more than 150 species in the world. This paper aims to revise the classification, determine the phylogenetic relationships and diversification patterns in Anseriformes by exploring the Cyt b, ND2, COI genes and the complete mitochondrial genomes (mito-genomes). Molecular phylogeny and genetic distance analyses suggest that the Dendrocygna species should be considered as an independent family, Dendrocygnidae, rather than a member of Anatidae. Molecular timescale analyses suggests that the ancestral diversification occurred during the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (58 ~ 50 Ma). Furthermore, diversification analyses showed that, after a long period of constant diversification, the median initial speciation rate was accelerated three times, and finally increased to approximately 0.3 sp/My. In the present study, both molecular phylogeny and diversification analyses results support that Anseriformes birds underwent rapid and recent diversification in their evolutionary history, especially in modern ducks, which show extreme diversification during the Plio-Pleistocene (~ 5.3 Ma). Therefore, our study support that the Plio-Pleistocene climate fluctuations are likely to have played a significant role in promoting the recent diversification for Anseriformes.

Concepts: Evolution, Species, Bird, Phylogenetic tree, Phylogenetics, Swan, Anatidae, Anseriformes